7 Signs that Something Is Wrong Post-Surgery

by Andrus Becki

When you plan to have surgery, you look forward to the amazing results that the doctor told you to expect. You long to feel that sense of relief when you hear that things have gone well and your surgery is over. This is what most people experience when going in for surgery. But not everyone. Surgical errors do happen during surgery, but post-surgery can bring more surprises than you may expect as well.

A few unlucky people have surgery and then develop complications post-surgery. These complications can range from minor problems like itching where the incisions were made or nausea after surgery from the anesthesia. Other complications can be pretty serious, like experiencing infections or blood clots.

By following the directions given to you by your surgeon after discharge, you can reduce the risk of complications once you’re home. There are some significant signs that you should look for that can warn you about problems that you shouldn’t ignore. Let’s find out more about some of the specific things that can happen versus the issues you need to address.

Normal Discomforts Post Surgery

Surgery isn’t ever something that is “comfortable.” Hopefully, you will get to that comfortable place sooner than later, though! Some of the most common discomforts that are completely normal after surgery can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting from the anesthesia medications given during surgery
  • A sore throat from the tubes they placed during surgery to help you breathe
  • Minimal pain or swelling around the incision site
  • Sleeplessness and agitation
  • Constipation (for a couple of days)

If you are experiencing one or more of these discomforts after surgery, don’t be too alarmed. They are normal. The key is to make sure that they don’t last too long or get severe in nature. If you have any concerns about worsening discomforts, make sure to talk with your doctor.

Serious Complications Post Surgery

Unfortunately, there can be some serious complications that occur after surgery. Although some complications are small and not much to worry about, others are entirely different and very serious. Suppose you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following complications after surgery. Depending on the severity, you should go directly to the Emergency Department or call 911 for more emergent needs. Some of these more severe conditions may include:

Allergies – Allergy symptoms can range from minor to quite severe. Patients can be allergic to the anesthesia, pain medications, or antibiotics given during surgery and post-surgery. The reaction you are experiencing will depend on whether you can call your doctor or if you need to obtain more emergent medical care.

Infections – When bacteria move into the incision site(s) during or after surgery, infections can be the outcome. Infections really slow down healing and can even spread to tissue or organs close by or move through the bloodstream. Antibiotics can be an easy treatment to clean up the area and drain the infection.

Shock – This is a condition caused by too much blood loss, neurological injury, infections, or metabolic disorders. Shock happens in the body when your blood pressure drops too low, and there isn’t enough blood moving through your body. Treatment can include providing oxygen, giving IV fluids, warming the patient, assistance with breathing, stopping bleeding, and more.

Excessive bleeding – When a patient has fast blood loss from the surgery incision, they can hemorrhage and go into shock. Common treatments include blood transfusions, IV fluids, or even more surgery to stop the bleeding that won’t stop on its own.

Blood clots and pulmonary embolisms – If you are experiencing pain or swelling in your extremities post-surgery, you need to contact your doctor, as this could be a sign of blood clots. If a clot goes to the lungs, this is a pulmonary embolism and is extremely dangerous and life-threatening. Blood thinners or medications to dissolve the clots may be given, as well as surgery if the clot is bad enough and in a location that allows it.

Shortness of breath – If you develop shortness of breath post-surgery, it’s not something to mess around with. You may be dealing with a blood clot that could turn into a pulmonary embolism fast. You can reduce the risk substantially by walking as much as your doctor will allow after surgery.

Pain that seems to be getting worse – Surgery brings about pain no matter what, but if the pain seems to get so intense that you’re unable to control it with medication, talk to your doctor or go to the emergency department. Your body could be telling you that something serious is going on. Listen to yourself and act if this seems to be happening.

Incisions that start to separate – Call your doctor to receive further instruction if you start to notice that your incision is coming apart. This can interrupt the healing process and put your more at risk for infections. Not something you want to take a chance on!

If Something’s Gone Wrong, Hire an Advocate to Protect You

If you’ve experienced a surgical mistake or other wrongdoing during surgery or post-surgery, don’t wait to call Wormington & Bollinger to find out what your options are. The consequences of surgical errors can be life-changing for you and your family. Those that are to blame should be held responsible for their negligence. You should not ignore the fact that you or a loved one must deal with the results of poor judgment or carelessness on the part of your surgeon or other party involved in your care. If it is, who’s to say that it won’t happen again to someone else?

When you’re ready to take action, talk to an experienced attorney that has your best interest in mind. Having an advocate that has worked through cases like yours dozens of times will be more beneficial than you can imagine. You can receive the most out of your case when you enlist the help of a lawyer. Call us today for more information and to schedule a free consultation.